What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

January 29, 2004

Report: Union membership in New York declines

The proportion of workers in New York who belong to unions continued to drop in 2003, but the state remains the most heavily unionized in the nation, according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nationwide, union membership dropped from 13.3 percent of workers in 2002 to 12.9 percent in 2003, reflecting 369,000 fewer people belonging to unions, the report said.

New York’s union membership declined by about 45,000 workers from 2002 to 2003, to 1,936,000. But that number still reflects the highest rate of union membership in the nation, with about 24.6 percent of the state's workforce, or 1.9 million individuals, claiming union membership. That figure is well above the national average of 12.9 percent, the report said.

Hawaii is the next most unionized state with 122,000 workers, or 23.8 percent of the workforce, belonging to a union, according to the report.

Nationwide, workers in the public sector were four times more likely to belong to a union than workers in the private sector, the report noted. Nearly 40 percent of public sector employees nationwide belonged to unions in 2003, compared with only 8.2 percent in the private sector.

The report also noted that private sector union membership has continued to drop over the last two decades, while public sector union membership has held steady.

For the full report, visit www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.toc.htm